Living Out Loud

My Favorite Man

drew (2)

Without a doubt, my favorite man in the whole world is my son Drew. He texted me photos from an art exhibit tonight and when I asked him if he'd had a good day. He replied "Yep! Just rode with a buddy for 20 miles around one off the coolest cities in the country, had tacos, saw 5 art shows and held a 2000-year-old Han Dynasty grave figure in my hands. Life is good." That whole message is quintessentially him. He stays remarkable fit for someone north of 40 by running and cycling around the city of Austin, TX and lifting weights in his home gym under a shelter in the backyard of his stucco bungalow in the old part of town. He developed an interest in art a few years ago, created an impressive library of books by publishers like Phaidon and others and now that he has an empty nest, takes mini vacations to New York to visit The Met and Boston to see the Isabella Gardner Museum. 

His interests are wide and eclectic. He makes arrowheads from flint and chirt by hand. He taught himself how to pick locks good enough that he can turn to a life of crime if his current gig fails to work out. His home library is one to envy. He's been a reader since he was just a wee tot. I was once in a heady discussion with my sister and one of her college friends about literature when four-year Drew entered the conversation, wanting to know if any of us had ever read Mr. Gumpy's Motor Car, his favorite book.

Growing up he was an indifferent student, obviously bright but not inclined to please anyone by participating in anything he found boring. By the time he got to high school, I was just happy for him to pass his classes. In 2001 he elected to join the military after he qualified for the Navy's nuclear energy school, something only a tiny fraction of enlistees can do. Three months after he left home, Saudi Arabian terrorists attacked the US on 9/11. In response, in 2003, our government elected to plan a war on Iraq. I objected to this and so did he, loudly and in public (in an interview with the Associated Press) on the day the US started bombing Baghdad. For that he was charged by the Navy with misconduct beginning a saga that saw him discharged two years later in 2005 - right into the hands of the Iraq Veterans Against the War.

In a funny twist of fate, he leveraged his nuclear training and a tremendous work ethic into a job with Samsung first making semi-conductors and later as a supervisor in their fabrication facility, staying with them 15 years while also raising two of my precious grandchildren and leaving me far, far behind on the income scale. He moved on to a management job in the automotive industry and I have no doubt will end up doing something else even more exciting before he retires. Like me, I doubt he will ever darken the door of a college or university.

He lives a thousand miles away and I don't get to see him often, once or twice a year at most, but we text and talk on the phone regularly. He surprises me sometimes, like when he flew up a couple of years ago just to help me crew my wife's first 100-mile ultra-marathon, during which he ran a 16-mile leg of the race with her at 3:00 o'clock in the morning. I'm a lucky Dad, and a proud one.